Giovanni Gentile

Giovanni Gentile

Philosopher
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Giovanni Gentile

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Giovanni Gentile (; May 30, 1875 – April 15, 1944) was an Italian neo-Hegelian Idealist philosopher, a peer of Benedetto Croce. He described himself as 'the philosopher of Fascism', and ghostwrote A Doctrine of Fascism (1932) for Benito Mussolini. He also devised his own system of philosophy, Actual Idealism.

Life and thought

Giovanni Gentile was born in Castelvetrano, Sicily. He was inspired by Italian intellectuals such as Mazzini, Rosmini, Gioberti, and Spaventa from whom he borrowed the idea of autoctisi, “self-construction”, but also was strongly influenced by the German idealist and materialist schools of thought — namely Karl Marx, Hegel, and Fichte with whom he shared the ideal of creating a Wissenschaftslehre, theory for a structure of knowledge that makes no assumptions. Friedrich Nietzsche, too, influenced him, as seen in an analogy between Nietzsche's Übermensch and Gentile's Uomo Fascista.

Gentile was the Chairman of the Department of Philosophy at Palermo University (1907–14), and later at Pisa. In 1923, he was the Minister of Public Education for the government of Benito Mussolini, as which he effected the “Riforma Gentile” — a great and deep reformation of the secondary school system, that had a long-lasting influence upon Italian education.Richard J. Wolff, Catholicism, Fascism and Italian Education from the Riforma Gentile to the Carta Della Scuola 1922-1939, History of Education Quarterly, Vol. 20, No. 1, 1980, pp....
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